Not what they tell you in church. This is a place for facts.

Take some advice from a deity?

I might give ‘religion’ a pass, but I love Jesus—that guy who was always saying nice, weird things. So of course they killed him.

While it lasted, he gave the best advice?

Cristychan96, “Jesus” (2019)

1. Be childlike

Jesus is big on the spiritual qualities of children. And children like him too. They approach Jesus in the scene of Matthew 19:14—after he tells his overgrown disciples to stop getting in the way.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

The idea went completely over the heads of his disciples. It’s rarely heard in Christian circles either. They keep trying to be “adults” all the time—even when that’s clearly not working.

2. Be present

Jesus was hitting that ‘mindfulness’…

Reading Bible scholars—I was shocked

“Thou shalt not have sex before marriage” — isn’t found in the Bible. But few of the Christian “rules” actually are.

When I looked up Bible scholarship about what they told me as a kid in church, I realized how often it was just made up.

Sara Shakeel (2017)

“Thou shalt not masturbate!”

As often as Christians have spoken against people touching their own bodies, the Bible has no references to that subject. How did a religion get away with outright deception, and for so long?

They often said dancing was bad. I look up the references to dancing in the Bible. God dances (Zeph 3:17). From Myriam to David to Jesus, dancing is divine.

But Christians moved along to their next sex obsession—as the dancing ban became…

A Bible scholar lays out a shocking case

Little is known about the authors of the Bible, and “Luke” is a particularly tricky case. The third gospel and Acts were assigned to him.

But how the name and texts relate is mysterious. Many scholars think of the “Luke” writings as anonymous. In a new paper, noted Bible scholar Joan Taylor suggests the real author has been known all along.

Vesna Valakhova (Shutterstock)

The third gospel and Acts are usually thought to be written by the same person.

The texts don’t identify an author, and seem to have circulated for years without a name attached to them. But there were two big clues. In the prologue to the gospel, the author is said to not have witnessed the life of Jesus. This person came along later.

The second clue seemed to really narrow it down. In a few passages between Acts 16–28…

A song from the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has the right wing up in arms

What did conservatives see when watching the video? A gay guy from San Francisco looking like a deranged Joker promising to rape boys.

A liberal viewer, if watching “Message From the Gay Community,” likely saw something else: a satire song about tolerance? Well-intentioned, amusing, enlightening.

I’m catching up on the online firestorm over the music video put out in early July by San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. They see themselves as the “gay community”—so what is their message?

Troy Iwata in “Message From the Gay Community” (2021; edited)

I’m trying to ‘read’ the song.

It seems to be aimed at a right-wing listener, telling them their children will be corrupted by the ‘gay community’.

“You think we’re sinful
You fight against our rights
You say we all lead live you can’t respect
But you’re just frightened
You think that we’ll corrupt your kids

Like Anne of Green Gables, she loved her ‘bosom friends’

L.M. Montgomery (colorized)

Her 1908 novel about a redheaded orphan girl has sold over 50 million copies, and produces new movies and TV shows regularly.

But what is known about L.M. Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables? Her fans had a vague sense of a woman called ‘Maud’, who’d been a single schoolteacher, and went on to marry a minister, had two sons, and wrote many more books.

She’d died in 1942. She seemed happy. Hadn’t she written happy novels?

She’d kept a journal for fifty-three years, and publication began in 1985. It proved to be a shocking exposé of an often depressed woman with a horrible marriage, whose greatest happiness seemed to be in her deep, soulful relationships with female friends.


A religion faces its baddest boy

In the early 2000s, a young pastor in Seattle became an Evangelical superstar, giving sermons that were like stand-up comedy.

Mark Driscoll, from Mars Hill Church, fascinated the faith. He was brash, obscene, loud, angry, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, saying things that Evangelicals wouldn’t dream of saying—publicly.

Almost as soon as he’d started, he was gone.

Mark Driscoll by John Keatley (2009)

He was unhappy with America—that “pussified nation.”

The church, likewise, was led by “chickified” and “homo-evangelical” men, Driscoll fumed. Why weren’t men—real men—in charge? That’s what God wanted.

Driscoll hated the Jesus of Christian tradition, that “effeminate-looking dude,” that “neutered and limp-wristed Sky Fairy…”

He’d go on, and on, about the “effeminate” Jesus everyone else seemed to like, that “limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair…

Was Christian doomsday writer Hal Lindsey just a hustler?

To grow up in America is often to be told that the world will soon end. It took me a long time to say: Well, maybe not.

In 1971, the typically Evangelical mentality went mainstream with The Late Great Planet Earth. It was by a guy named Hal Lindsey, who wrote a bunch of sequels, giving shifting dates for the apocalypse he predicted.

Long before the Left Behind series which dramatized the same ideas to greater fame, Lindsey sold 35 million books. Was it not a legendary hustle, I wondered?—meaning doomsday “prophesy” in general.

Hal Lindsey, from “The Late Great Planet Earth” movie (1979)

There’s been no biography of Lindsey.

He’s one of the more successful writers in history, and one of the most recognized names in America’s largest religion. But Evangelicals don’t like to talk about their leaders, or not publicly.


A transgender story is a spiritual story

In church you might not hear too many transgender stories. Christian history does tend to erase them.

I pick up the published journal of a legendary performer in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and what do I find? “I ask for spiritual enlightenment,” she writes. Or jotting:

“ask holy spirit to breath into you
Do what you can because there are many things that need doing.
Mission from God”

Those stressing her importance to LGBT history are as apt to overlook the references. Let’s examine the spiritual history of Candy Darling.

Candy Darling by Bill Goulding c.1971–72

Candy was born as James Slattery in 1944.

‘Jimmy’ grew up in Massapequa Park, New York. There is as yet no biography (one is expected), but we have available a…

The famous Christian was a sexual revolution

C.S. Lewis c.1955 (colorized)

Clive Staples Lewis was born in 1898. His mother died when he was nine, an experience from which, he’d say, he never recovered.

He was called ‘Jack’, as his brother Warren was ‘Warnie’. They were both packed off to boarding school—which was hell on earth. In his memoir, Surprised by Joy, Lewis says the boarding schools encouraged a class of older boys called ‘prefects’ to be monsters of ego, and they made sexual use of younger boys.

Startlingly, he says the sex was a bright spot in a world that was mostly just cruel. “In his unnatural love-affairs,” he writes, the prefect “forgot for a few hours that he was One of the Most Important People There Are.”

Lewis doesn’t explicitly say he…


religion. sex. facts.

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